Description: Shrubs or small trees; branchlets usually stiffly hairy.
Leaves 3–7-veined, with prominent transverse venation.
Inflorescences terminal or in the upper axils, or flowers sometimes solitary. Flowers mostly 5–7-merous. Hypanthium covered with short, scale-like, stiff hairs. Stamens 10–14, dimorphic (alternately unequal); anthers oblong-linear, the connective of the larger anthers elongated and 2-lobed at the base. Ovary usually 5-locular.
Fruit irregularly dehiscent; seeds numerous, embedded in pulpy tissue.
Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 100 species, Asia to Pacific. Australia: 3 species (1 introduced)
The introduced Melastoma malabathricum occurs sporadically. It differs from the native M. affine in having fewer flowers (1-3) in the inflorescence, with much longer sepals (to 15 mm long) and relatively large subtending bracts.
Text by Peter G. Wilson (updated July 2016)